AAS Student Body President Candidate Statements

1601338_604110113004116_750134182_n + screen-shot-2014-09-29-at-8-36-17-pm

Oluwatomi (Tomi) Williams ’16

Before I decided to run for President of the AAS, I had to take some time to consider a question that has weighed on me ever since I lost an election for President of the AAS four months ago. The question was simple: for all its talk of building a diverse community that is accepting of students of all colors, creeds, backgrounds, and interests, is this College actually ready for a Mock Trial president?

Now, I know what a lot of you may be thinking: “It’s 2014, Tomi. Of course this student body is ready for a President who is a member of the Mock Trial team.” But you’d be surprised. Recently, I’ve been asked questions like, “What is the Mock Trial team like?” and, “Are you guys an exclusive group?” and, “We have a Mock Trial team?” To all of those questions I say, “I’m not sure.” I’ve only been at this school for two years. But I do know what is possible if Mock Trial members and non-Mock Trial members put aside their differences and work toward common goals.

Some have expressed concern that, as President, I will have a “divided loyalty” between the Mock Trial team and the College as a whole. I object! I am a member of the Amherst College community first, and a proud member of the Mock Trial team second. I believe in an Amherst where the separation of the Mock Trial team and everything else is absolute, where no member of the Mock Trial team would tell the student body president (should he also be a member of the Mock Trial team) how to lead, and where no student group is granted political preference for any reason.

Ladies and gentlemen of the student body, whatever issue may come before me as president, I will make my decision in accordance with these views, in accordance with what my conscience tells me to be in the student body’s interest, and without regard to outside Mock Trial pressures or dictates.

I rest my case. Thank you, and please remember to vote.

Peter Crane ’15

So a lot of people have come to me saying “Hey Peter, you had a great campaign last year, unfortunately fell short of winning a popular election by your peers, and ended up in a nasty parliamentary debate over the validity of an election based on the argument that posters that weren’t hung up influenced the outcome. Many people were upset that the popular vote was invalidated by a minority of vocal senators and judiciary council members, which—however successful—tainted the election process in general and destroyed any remaining good faith the student body had in the AAS as a functional representation of their interests. In turn, the debate became so virulent that the temporary president Amani Ahmed ’15 decided not to run again, as both her and your names became forever attached to the nastiness in the Spring—her as acting president and you as a senator inextricably involved in the closely contested deliberations to invalidate her election. So why are you deciding to run again?”

To that I would say, firstly, those are really, really, extremely, valid concerns. And secondly, that it just feels right to run again.

Listen, I’ve been in some position of power since I first ran for senate four weeks into freshman year. As moderator of the Class of 2016, 2017, and 2018 Facebook groups, I’ve been the gate-keeper to nearly everyone’s campus experience. Doesn’t it just feel wrong to not leverage that groundwork in some way or another? And what about Spring Concert? All that work getting Macklemore for me not to become AAS president?

Now, once again, some people might say that I was pulling the strings behind the efforts to dismantle the Ahmed presidency. Now that feels wrong to say. After all, I’m not some kind of Frank Underwood type. This isn’t House of Cards. I’m not going to push my opposition in front of a subway train. That’s ludicrous. Amherst doesn’t have a subway.

And hey, hopefully things work out right. I hope that this election proves that I have the support of the student body, once and for all. If not, the third time’s the charm.

Thank you. And let’s get back to work.